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Products > Xanthorrhoea minor
 
Xanthorrhoea minor - Small Grass-tree
   

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Grass-like
Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Infrequent
Height: 1-2 feet
Width: 1-2 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Xanthorrhoea minor (Small Grass-tree) - A dwarf clumping perennial with subterranean branched creating multiple (2-6) tufts of 1 to 2 1/2 foot long stiff green leaves at ground level that are three angled and held mostly upright. These tufts are in close proximity and often appear to be one grassy clump. Flowering does not occur regularly but when it does is often in late spring and unlike the other species, may have multiple flower stalks arising from each leaf crown. Also unlike the larger Grass-trees, these stalks are only 18 to 30 inch tall with the white flowers in the spike clustered in the top 4 to 10 inches. Plant in full to part sun or in bright shade. Water occasionally to infrequently. Hardy to frost. Being a smaller Grass-tree, this species looks a bit like a stiff grass in the landscape, but when it bloom it will be surprisingly attractive. Xanthorrhoea is a genus with about 30 species endemic to Australia that was once included in the large lily family, the Liliaceace, but taxonomists later placed it in its own montypic family that also included such genera as Kingia, Dasypogon and Lomandra. The current nomenclature has it in its own subfamily, the Xanthorrhoeoideae, as part of the large Asphodel family, the Asphodelaceae, which includes such other familiar plants as Aloe, Bulbine, Dianella, Hemerocallis, Kniphofia and Phormium. Though often associated with succulents or trees, the Xanthorrhoea are actually long lived perennials with secondary thickening wood-like meristem forming in the stems. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'xanthos', meaning "yellow" and 'rheo' meaning "to flow" in reference to the resin of this plant that was collected from around the base of the stem by Aboriginal Australians who heated and rolled it into balls and used it for various purposes. The specific epithet is the Latin word meaning "smaller" or "lesser" in reference to the size of the plant in comparison with other members of the genus. Other common names for Xanthorrhoea include grasstree, grass gum-tree (for the resin-yielding species), kangaroo tail. An early colonial name was "blackboy" but this name is now appropriately considered offensive and politically incorrect. This name was purportedly based on the look of the fire blackened trunks with foliage and tall inflorescence spike emerging at the top appearing as similar to that of an Aboriginal man holding an upright spear. We list this name here strictly for its historical significance and not to suggest it ever be used now as common name. Our plants from seed collected from selected specimens in their natural habitat in Australia by Atilla Kapitany, plant explorer, lecturer and author of Australian Grass Trees Xanthorrhoea and Kingia and Australian Succulent PlantsThe information on this page is based on our research that has been conducted on this plant in our nursery library, from online sources, and from observations made of the crops growing in the nursery, plants in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens where we have observed it. We also have incorporated comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from those who may have additional information, particularly if this information includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Xanthorrhoea minor.
 
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